Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements.
When you go to court, you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.
In the Soviet Union capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country capitalism has triumphed over democracy.
All reformers, however strict their social conscience, live in houses just as big as they can pay for.
Americans . . . believe in the future as if it were a religion; they believe that there is nothing they cannot accomplish, that solutions wait somewhere for all problems, like brides.
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact, you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under, if you are really going to get your reform realized.
Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.
When you say fiscal responsibility, it seems to me that you really mean rich people keeping their money.
Democracy takes time. Dictatorship is quicker, but too many people get shot.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. / I awoke and saw that life was service. / I acted and behold, service was joy.
People who are much too sensitive to demand of cripples that they run races ask of the poor that they get up and act just like everyone else in society.
Thousands upon thousands are yearly brought into a state of real poverty by their great anxiety not to be thought poor.
I like to go to Marshall Field’s in Chicago just to see how many things there are in the world that I do not want.
When Mark Twain was an impoverished young reporter in Virginia City, he was walking along the street one day with a cigar box under his arm. He encountered a wealthy lady he knew, who said to him reproachfully, “You promised me that you would give up smoking.”
“Madam,” replied Twain, “this box does not contain cigars. I’m just moving.”
America is like one of those old-fashioned six-cylinder truck engines that can be missing two spark plugs and have a broken flywheel and a crankshaft that’s five thousand millimeters off fitting properly, and two bad ball bearings, and still run. We’re in that kind of situation. We can have substantial parts of the population committing suicide, and still run and look fairly good.
My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised.
All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.
Get beyond love and grief. Exist for the good of man.